One can never have too much John Humphrys rubbish in this life, so here is some more from the parshiyot of Ki Teitzei and Ki Tavo:
Social welfare rubbish
When you reap your grain harvest and forget a sheaf in the field, you must not go back to get it. It must be left for the foreigner, orphan and wide, so that God will bless you, no matter what you do.
Judicial and gender rubbish
…if the man encountered the betrothed girl in the field and raped her, then only the rapist shall be put to death. You must not impose any penalty upon the girl, since she had not committed a sin worthy of death.
If you see your brother’s ox or sheep going astray, you must not ignore them. You must return them to your brother….
…Cursed is he who moves his neighbour’s boundary marker.
Listening to another Radio 4 programme this week, in which John Humphrys took no part, I was reminded that the great mythical hero Achilles, at the siege of Troy, raped the captive Polyxena, murdered two of her brothers and eventually had her killed too. The Israelites warriors were told to behave in a somewhat different fashion:
When you wage war against your enemies, so that you will take captives. If you see a beautiful woman among the prisoners and desire her, you may take her as a wife… She must take off her captive garb and remain in your house a full month, mourning for her father and mother… If you do not desire her, however, you must send her away free. Since she has been violated, you may not sell her for cash or keep her as a servant.
Military and public hygiene rubbish
You must designate a place outside the camp as a lavatory. You must also keep a spike with your weapons, so that when you have to sit down to relieve yourself, you will first dig a hole with it, and then sit down, [and finally] cover your excrement.
Rubbish about animals
If you see your brother’s donkey or ox fallen on the road, you must not ignore it. You must help him pick up [the load].
Health and safety rubbish
When you build a new house, you must place a guard-rail around the roof. Do not allow a dangerous situation to remain in your house, since someone can fall.
Penal code rubbish
In the British navy two hundred years ago, 100 lashes, or even 200, were sometimes given to sailors guilty of some misdemeanour while on board ship. The milksop Israelites, on the other hand, were told to “not go beyond the limit and give him forty lashes.”
Business code rubbish
You must not keep in your such two different weights, one large and one small. [Similarly], you must not keep in your house two different measures, one large and one small.
You must have a full honest weight and a full honest measure.
Family and genetics rubbish
Cursed is he who lies with his father’s wife… with his sister… with his mother-in-law.
Finally, again, some poetic rubbish from the haftorah for Ki Tavo
The sun will no longer be your light by day, nor will the moon give light for brightness. But God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will no longer set, nor will your moon wane. God God will be you everlasting light and your days of mourning will be ended.
There is just so much of this stuff and much more other, equally engaging instruction and inspiration. And again, Pat Lipert will be there to reveal it, so come along on Saturday at 10:30.